Lightning Fast and Under $1000: The ASUS CM6870-US014S Desktop

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by Amin Sabet, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I have a house full of Macs and PCs, but my primary Lightroom and Photoshop "workhorse" for the past several years was a Core 2 Quad PC with 8GB of RAM that lately was beginning to feel a little sluggish.

    After doing a ton of research, I decided to pick up this ASUS desktop.

    Here are the specs:
    • Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz (Max Turbo 3.9 GHz, 8MB L3 Cache)
    • 32GB RAM (DDR3 1600)
    • NVIDIA Geforce GTX 650 1GB Graphics
    • 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
    • Windows 8
    • 24x DVD-RW
    • 4 x USB 3.0 Ports
    • 6 x USB 2.0 Ports
    • Video Ports: 1 VGA, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI
    • 16-in-1 Card Reader
    • PCI Slots: 1 x PCI-e x1, 2 x PCI-e x16

    I was very surprised to find a 3rd Gen Core i7 Quad desktop with 32GB of RAM and a very decent graphics card for under $1k. The only thing missing is a Wifi adapter.

    I added a SanDisk 240GB SSD drive for $180 and a $20 USB Wifi adapter.

    Brief impressions:
    • Crazy fast performance
    • Nice and quiet
    • Less bloatware out of the box than most PCs I've owned
    • Windows 8 - So far, I like it

    Highly recommended if you're in the market for a new PC for image processing.

    Links: Order at Amazon | Order at B&H Photo
  2. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Very nice. I just ordered one to use as a Linux box. Really didn't need another computer, but yeah, you know. :)
  3. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    Looks like an excellent deal, Amin. I'd consider it - except a I REALLY don't want Windows 8. :frown:

    Best of luck with it. That rig should fly! :smile:
  4. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Amin, do you use a touchscreen monitor with this machine? It always seemed to me that Windows 8 is best experienced with a touchscreen. It's also a great mobile/phone platform. I'm not sure about using it exclusively with a mouse interface. But I've never worked with it that way.
  5. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    A nice system, and a good price for a pre-built.

    I built a system myself that's not quite as good in terms of performance, but came in a bit cheaper

    - AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
    - 16GB DDR3 RAM
    - AMD Radeon 7850
    - 3TB HDD
    - 1TB HDD
    - 128 GB SSD
    - Windows 8
  6. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I have Windows 8 on my desktop and my wife has it on her desktop. I think it works well with a mouse, but not as well with a touchpad. On a laptop a touch screen would definitely be better.
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've used Windows 8 with and without a touchscreen now. On a laptop, I think the touch screen works well. On a desktop where I'm doing my photo editing, I'd rather keep the screen clean and find that the interface works well with a mouse also. I've got a few Windows 7 licenses and no temptation to install 7 on this machine in place of 8.
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Sounds awesome. Wish it ran OS X though! :frown:
  9. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    +1 :biggrin:
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yep, I'd love to see a Mac with these specs as well. You can configure an iMac with the same processor and RAM plus a slightly better graphics card, but it'll run you $2800. I miss the days when Apple regularly brought out towers without built-in displays.
  11. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Damn 32gb of RAM....
  12. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I think it could run it, but that's neither here or there on this forum.
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    on paper seems a pretty powerful machine.... very similar basic spec to the 27in imac though you would have to budget 6-800 dollars for a good 27 inch screen

    have to wonder how they make it at that price though... processor is a 300 dollar chip, and 32g of memory is about 250 dollars... OK I know asus are paying less than street price for components... but one has to wonders what corners they are cutting?

    oh yeah and it doesn't run OSX... I'll stick to my iMac :) Sometimes value is more important than price

  14. JLphoto

    JLphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2013
    San Francisco/Marin County
    Apple just came out with a radically different Mac Pro tower. See here:
  15. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    That looks really neat. It might persuade me to put aside my anti-Apple prejudice and step into Mac land...
  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I dont really think the direct comparison with an imac is that valid. Apple enjoys an almost 40% net income margin so you are inherently paying something like double the component costs in order to gain access to the operating system
  17. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I'm running a Mac Mini Server - newest version with Core i7 quad processor that I upgraded to 16 GB of RAM that's pretty fast, but they have mediocre native graphics that can't be upgraded. Perfectly sufficient for 2D work, but won't cut it for 3D gaming or rendering. But basically, it's analogous to a Micro 4/3 camera - it will do 90% of stuff as well as a big loaded Windows PC, and look far sleeker and more elegant doing it. But if you need the 10% that involves performance 3D graphics, it won't cut it. For me and my uses, it's perfect, though. BTW, my machine cost me $700 mint used on ebay, plus another $100 to upgrade the RAM from 4GB to 16 GB.
  18. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Seems like a descent machine for the price. Not sure you'd do much better it you built one yourself other than being able to pick the specific parts.

    So far I like Windows 8, that is once I added a start menu replacement and bypass the Metro screen.
  19. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    I have an ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T and I love everything about it!!!
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Lots of great points all around.

    Kevin: All I can say is that Asus has a very good reputation amongst system builders for not cutting corners. They save money on cosmetic design (it's a big black box) and marketing (do they have any?). Also, as you mentioned, they are getting these parts cheaper than the prices you cited.

    The upcoming Mac Pro definitely looks great. It's gonna outclass this Asus in performance, expandability, but it won't be cheap. Least expensive Mac Pro now is $2500. Most importantly of all (to me), it isn't here yet. I bought the original Mac Pro (2.67GHz Quad Xeon), and it served me for a long time. Still love the design of that computer - hot swappable HDDs, etc. Wish this Asus could be built like that, but I'm sure they'd have to charge a lot more than $970 for it if it did.
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